OKRA GROWING FACTS:
Okra is a warm weather vegetable, also known as ladies’ finger. It offers a wide range of health benefits and is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It’s easy to grow and drought tolerant, making it a great vegetable to grow in Indian summers.
A biodegradable pot
HOW TO PLANT:
Unpack the kit. Use the coco peat coin to make growing medium (soil). Follow the steps:
• Place the coco peat coin in a container and add 200 mls of water
• Let the coin soak up all the water and watch it expand into growing medium
• Put the growing medium in the GIY pot and level surface
Sprinkle seeds on the surface. Cover them with growing medium. Keep it moist by spraying water daily.
Seed leaves should emerge within 5-14 days. Make sure that the soil stays moist throughout. In order to speed up germination, you can soak the seeds overnight in water prior to sowing.
Water regularly, but make sure you don’t over water. Give the okra about one-half inch of water per week. Allow it to dry out between each watering; okra may survive for up to one month without watering. Watering too much may cause fungal diseases, such as root rot.
TRANSPLANTING AND GROWTH:
When the seedlings start showing their true leaves and have 4-6 set of leaves or are 4 inches tall, it is time to transplant your biodegradable coir pot.
If planting in your garden, find a sunny spot. Remove mud and make a hole of about 12 inches in diameter and 9 inches deep. Place you biodegradable coir pot in the bottom. Cover hole with good quality organic manure or compost mixed with soil.
If planting in a container, find one which is about 15 inches deep and 12 inches in diameter. Make a mix of half volume organic compost or manure with good quality garden soil and fill it up. Then dig a hole from the top and place your biodegradable coir pot inside it.
This step is very important to allow the plant’s roots to develop.
Provide staking or support for your plant as it continues to grow. In an open space, Okra plants can grow over 6 feet tall. Container grown plants won’t grow this tall, but may still need support.
In order for plants to grow well, it’s important to provide the right nutrients. Every GIY kit contains organic micronutrients. Add 1 teaspoon of our micronutrients, every 20 days after sprouts first appear for a healthy plant growth. If necessary keep topping your container with organic compost every 20 days.
Your Okra plant should flower within 35 – 45 days and will grow Okras within 60 – 70 days of planting. Harvest Okra when its about 2 to 3 inches long. Harvest it every other day. Cut the stem above the cap with a knife. If the stem is too hard to cut, the pod is probably too old and should be tossed. Okras are covered with tiny spines that irritate your skin, so be careful when picking them.
INSECTS AND DISEASES:
Young okra plants can be attacked by leaf eating insects and they can eat the whole plant up overnight. So, just keep checking on your young plants every morning. If you notice that parts of leaves have been eaten away, look for insects and pests on the plant, especially under the leaves. If you spot any pests, remove them by hand. You can use a mixture of Neem Oil (2-3 ml) and water (1 lit.) and spray the plant weekly to avoid pests.
The most common disease afflicting the okra plant is verticillium wilt, often causing yellowing and wilting of leaves. Other diseases include powdery mildew in dry tropical regions, leaf spots, and root-knot nematodes. Check water quantity and drainage and use Neem oil mixture as mentioned above.
Okra is considered one of the healthiest vegetables. It is low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Riboflavin, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium and Manganese.